Tuesday, April 25, 2017

CLEAR....UPDATE......

Last week I blogged about knowing God's will.  Roger and I were struggling with knowing what God would have him to do..............as far as secular jobs.

Finally Roger began to pray....God, if this new job is NOT your will, please just close the doors because right now I am so discouraged that I just might jump at any change without really looking at the whole picture.

We could only see the little picture.......but God could see it all.

Long story short......................we kept waiting on the job offer, but it never came.  Because of how Roger had prayed and had asked me to pray...........we had a peace about it.  For some reason, it was not God's will.

Today he got a call from the new company.  They had been ready to make him an offer, but an unexpected issue came up and their biggest contractor decided they wanted to fill that position with one of their employees.

God was watching over us.  He could see the BIG PICTURE...........

I say all of this to say.....we were sooooooooooooo confused, UNTIL we let go and gave it to God.

We did not have to figure out God's will.....we just had to step back and let him in the drivers seat.

Just let go................give it to God.  Now....if we could remember to ALWAYS do this, the worries and frets would disappear.

Thank you for the prayers.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Some of the Reasons I Smile........


Sorry..............but I could not resist.  I KNOW I am an annoying Mimi....but I figured....you have a choice............you can just skip this blog each time I blog.  Smile.

LOVE my toddler grandkids!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BUMPS in the ROAD

I am a planner.....a list maker, etc.  That's how I function.

We planned out mini-get-away so that we could pray, meditate and be shown God's will for Roger's secular job.  Also.....it was a time for us to de-stress and relax and enjoy some time together.

It was the beginning of my Spring Break.  Naturally, I had it ALL planned out.  We were going to the Council Meeting Friday and Saturday.  Saturday night and Sunday night were going to Carson Springs for a time of relaxation.  And, being so close to the outlets.........I had my shopping list made.  I was ready.

Roger had taken all week of my spring break off to, so we were going to enjoy.

My plans were....we would come home Monday afternoon and stop in Cleveland, TN to pick up our dog and also to watch our grandson play t-ball.  I was going to get the grandkids to spend the time with me.....their mom has already had her Spring Break.......and Tuesday we were going to get up and drive to Alabama to see our Moms and let them see the great-grandkids.................since we don't get to go there often.

Our son and his wife usually eat an Easter supper with us Saturday night and I cook Easter meal for our daughter, her husband and kids on Sunday.

I also had Monday off work....for Easter...............so my plans were to relax and clean up and get ready to go back to work.

THOSE WERE MY PLANS.

BUT....My Plans got changed because of an unexpected BUMP in the road.

On Wednesday, April 5th we got out of school early because tornados were coming.  I had felt bad over the weekend and had continued to feel rough.  Sore throat....head aches....just plain yulky and coughing and snotting.  YULK.

SO.....I decided to take advantage of the bad weather and go to the Walk-In Clinic.  I told the doctor my symptoms, etc. and told him that I teach the little kids on Wednesday nights and we were going out of town, so I just wanted to make sure I was okay beforehand.  I had been taking over-the-counter meds.

He checked me out.  No tests.  Said he thought I had a sinus infection and upper respiratory infection, so he gave me and antibiotic and special cough medication and told me to leave all of the over-the-counter meds alone.  He said he did not think I was anymore contagious than a cold, but since I was so tired...........he advised me to take off work....rest and drink plenty of liquids.

I took Thursday and Friday off.

We went on our trip..........................I FELT HORRIBLE.  Food did not taste good.........I was weak...............I was achy.......It was rough.  We made it through the meetings and went on to Carson Springs.

I had my list made..............grabbed a couple of things................ate because I needed to, but it had no taste.......................slept late and felt terrible.

The only good thing I can say is...............we RESTED.  Had we been home, Roger would Not have Rested.  We did very little but rest.

Came home, stopping in Cleveland, but I did not feel like bringing the grandkids home or going to Alabama.  I went to bed.

By Thursday...........I went back to the doctor.  My doctor in Chattanooga.  After checking me out...........he wanted to run chest x-rays and blood work to make sure I did not have pneumonia.  They both came back fine, so he said we were going to treat it as POST FLU....with no tampi-flu...........he gave me a steroid and more medications and put me to bed.

FINALLY......Saturday, I felt a little better.  Our son and daughter-in-law decided not to come home because he has a big test coming up and they knew I had been sick.  Our daughter decided we could go to their house Sunday and just grill out so I did not have to cook.

Sunday, I got up and went to our Sunrise Service and we stayed at church (we live 32 miles from church.) We came home from church and went to bed and slept all afternoon.  That afternoon we went over to our daughter's house for supper.

I still felt rough, but much better so I decided I wanted the grandkids to spend the night with me...................so they could sleep in the next morning.  We had a lazy day.

We took them home Monday night so he could play t-ball.

Tuesday............I went back to work.  I over-slept..............never heard the alarm.  And....I guess I was weaker than I realized because it totally zapped me out, but every day I am getting stronger so I guess it will just take some time.

ALL those CAREFULLY MADE PLANS.....................CHANGED.................because of the BUMPS in the ROAD.

And, you know what?  Life still went on.

Did I enjoy my spring break?  NO.  Not at all.  BUT...I did not have to take off days without pay because I was sick, so the timing worked out.

There will ALWAYS be BUMPS in the road.............we just need to learn to ROLL with THEM.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

CONFUSED.....What IS God's WILL????

I think I have mentioned before that my husband is a Bi-Vocational Pastor which means that he has TWO full-time jobs.  His secular job pays our bills.  He had everything carefully planned out...............he could take an early "secular job" retirement at 62...........and devote more time to his pastoring............or, if his secular job was not too demanding, he could work a couple of more years and then retire.

All of that was shot down last March 2016.  The company he has worked with for twenty-one years.....a large insurance company.....told the employees that many of the departments will eventually be closed because they are OUT-SOURCING to a company in India.  No dates....times, etc. were told.  Every few months, they will say........we should know something by the end of next month, etc.  Thirteen months later..............we still don't know ANYTHING......................but in the meantime, they are treating their employees bad.  They are demanding salaried workers to put in more and more overtime....without pay.  They are writing them up for anything and everything.  People have quit.................in fact, the entire company has lost thousand of employees.  They are not replacing them...........they are just piling the work-load onto the remaining employees.

It's been a VERY stressful and disheartening year...to say the least.

At 61 years old....Roger never dreamed he may be out looking for a new job. 

Out of the clear blue......a smaller company called Roger and said they had a position available that they had been told he would be perfect for
He had an on-phone interview.  Found out he would be doing about the same work he does for the larger company but on a smaller level.  He found out it is a Christian based company and the majority of the employees are Christians.  A portion of the company's profits even go to support missionaries.  The owner of the company regularly sends out emails inviting any employees to join him for breakfast at a restaurant in Chattanooga for a Prayer Breakfast.

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE..............WOW!

They set up an Lunch interview for Roger that lasted from 11:00 - 3:00.  It went awesome.  They told him he would be receiving an offer by mail soon.

The new job isn't perfect...................there are some "issues" with it.  Number one.....they want him to go to a week long school and be certified in IBM areas.  That would require a week away and several tests that would HAVE to be passed to keep his job.

His current secular job...............he works from home.  About 3-4 times per year, he will drive to Chattanooga to the office to get something fixed on his computer, etc.  But....normally, he works from home.

The new job.........he could work from home some........after a few months of orientation.  Then a few times a month, he may have to drive to Nashville or Knoxville.  (Nashville is about 3 1/2 - 4 hours from us..........Knoxville is 1 1/2 - 2 hours.....Chattanooga is 45 minutes.)  This would not be as bad IF he HAD ONE job...........

There are also several things about the new job that will be NEW and Roger will have to apply himself and learn.....at 61 years old.

The next week....NO OFFER.  Then Roger got a call from the first guy that called him and said he was going to have to have a conference interview with a group from Nashville before they made the offer.  That was set up for the next day....Tuesday at 1:00.

Monday afternoon, he got an email from the current job saying he had a mandatory meeting at 9:00 and another one at 10:00 Tuesday.

It turned out that he also had a 3:00 meeting with the current job on Tuesday also.  The first meeting they were told that they were out-sourcing............it could take days, weeks, months or years before it was completed.  No severance pay and no way of knowing who would have a job in the end and who would not.

Second meeting were told that some departments may not lose everyone.

Last meeting said if they lost their jobs, they may be offered another job with the new company..........if not, they may qualify for severance pay.  When asked if they were going to offer early retirement.........three times they said no.

Lots of conflicting stories and nothing adds up.

Roger met with the new company for his third interview.  He was told that the OFFER would be made soon.

Then the doubts began..........was this God answering our prayers?  Or, was this Satan saying............here is my opportunity to REALLY stress him out and keep him busy..........because his church is doing too good.  ??????

But remember...............in ONE YEAR, Roger could take early retirement.  So now......does He wait it out for one year and walk away, or does he began a new career at 61 years old???

The new company needed someone YESTERDAY...........


I teach school and my Spring Break was last week............April 10-14.  Our State Bi-Vocational Council Planning Meeting was April 7 & 8th in Knoxville.................so we decided to take the Sunday off.............and leave the meeting and go to Carson Springs for a MUCH NEEDED AWAY TIME.  Our prayers were that the new company would allow Roger to wait until we come back from our mini-get-away before demanding an answer to the offer.

We left on Friday, April 7th.  NO OFFER had been received by mail.  We went on our trip.....(which I will talk more of tomorrow............) came home, and still NO OFFER.  By the middle of the week, Roger got a call from the original man and he said that they now wanted him to have a phone interview with the man he would be replacing.  It turned into an hour of drilling...to see what he knows..  That was last Thursday.

Today....Wednesday.....still NO OFFER.

We thought we had it all figured out..................we took the time to go away and  PRAY and MEDITATE to decide God's Will in our lives. 

(I might mention that our church is doing GREAT..............growing by leaps and bounds and in that area.....things are great.)

Three and half weeks later................we are still just as confused.  Still do not know what God wants Roger to do..................and still do not have answers.

BUT....we are STILL PRAYING.......................and we are still seeking HIS WILL.  AND...still waiting for the OFFER...............or NOT.

Roger keeps flip flopping.............whether he needs to jump at the new job or hang in there and tough it out for a year.  (IF either is even a possibility.....)

PLEASE, LADIES...................I know most of you are FULL TIME Pastor Wives.....so this may be not hit home to you like a bi-vocational pastor wife............but PLEASE.....help us PRAY for GOD's GUIDANCE in this.

And Yes......we KNOW.....it is All in God's Timing.  He will guide us at the right time!

Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

EASTER.....in the Eyes of a Child

I enjoyed reading Tara's words about the perspective of Good Friday in a child's eyes.

This year, even more than normal......I enjoyed "experiencing Easter" through the eyes of children.  I teach the 2 year olds until they begin Kindergarten at church during Sunday School and every Wednesday night.  This year, I have a younger group of kids.  Also, I have a 3 year old granddaughter and a 4 year old grandson, so every way I turn, I have enjoyed their excitement and their retelling of the REAL Easter story.

"Our three year old granddaughter told me that Friday was a sad day because Jesus died on the cross.  The mean people were mean to him and didn't love him like we love him and they nailed him on the big cross and put nails in his hand and made blood.  They should have put the mean people in time out, but I'm not sure if they did or not.

She went on to say, but Easter morning, the Easter Bunny comes because he is so excited because Jesus is Alive.  He come alive and his tomb was empty.  He lives in Heaven now and everywhere.  We can't see Him, but he is everywhere.  Mimi, why can't I see Him?

Her and her brother went on to tell me that Christmas Jesus was born a baby.  He was just a little baby....cause he was just born.  Then he grew up and the mean people was mean to him and put him on that cross.  But, he's alive now....and he's not gonna die again."

I LOVE how easy it is for them to just accept what they are told.  They get soooo excited and they do not question the why or why nots.  Oh.......to be as a little child and sooooo trusting.

With my preschoolers.....we spent four weeks learning about Jesus. 

Week #1....we had an early Palm Sunday lesson.  We made donkeys and handprint palm leaves.  I LOVE hearing my preschoolers AND grandkids saying...."Hosanna, Hosanna!"

Week #2....we discussed the Last Supper.............and talked about when our parents partake of the Lord's Supper and what it means.  I even brought grape juice and soup crackers for them to just "taste" because many times younger children do not understand about the Lord's Supper and they think that Mom and Dad are getting a special tasty treat and they are being left out.  Only one of the 12 preschoolers actually liked the juice.....the others thought it was yulky.   We talked about how one day Jesus will speak to their hearts and they will accept them as their Savior.............after that time, then, they too will be able to partake of the Lord's Supper.

Week #3.....was Good Friday and it was a SAD DAY because Jesus had to die on the cross.

Week #4....was Easter Sunday and it was a GLAD DAY because Jesus came ALIVE!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.....preschoolers!!!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Toddler Resurrection Eggs

We have seen, purchased, made and used the 12 resurrection Easter Eggs to tell the story of Easter, many, many times over the years.  We LOVE it..................but.....it is our experience that even the older children tend to lose their attention span when going through the twelve eggs.

This year.....since I have toddler grandkids and since I teach the pre-schoolers............I found the Toddler Version on Pinterest.  I LOVE IT........for ALL AGES.  I liked it so well....after I adapted it to my needs..........that I made all of my preschoolers plus grandkids one. 

Roger and I serve on the State Bi-Vocational Planning Council and it met Palm Sunday weekend, so I made each family a set to take back and use at their church.

It is VERY simple, but right to the point.

EGG #1 - Communion Cup (Represents the Lord's Last Supper)
EGG #2 - Cross (Represents Jesus died on the Cross)
EGG #3 - White Gauze (The cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.)
EGG #4 - Rock (The stone placed in front of the tomb.)
EGG #5 - Was EMPTY ( Jesus was not there.)
EGG #6 - Skittles (Cause I have kids with milk allergies.......This egg held the Sweet
                 Surprise of EASTER............JESUS is ALIVE!


All of my preschools plus my grandkids..........were able to tell me what each egg meant.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Child's Perspective of Good Friday

My most favorite part of my job is leading a short, age-appropriate chapel time for 3-5 year old little people on Tuesdays.

As a weekday preschool director of a sizable program, this is the only consistent interaction I have with our small people.

Watching their bright, big eyes light up with delight when they learn something new about Jesus never, ever, gets old. Don't get me wrong I love their smiles and hugs. I look forward to their high-fives and thumbs ups. But when they hang on the words of the Bible story, anxiously awaiting how Jesus will save the day - there is simply nothing like it.

Many of the stories have become stale to most of us that don't remember the first time we heard about the little man who climbed the tree or the baby in the manger. But these stories are fresh and fascinating to their little ears.

This Tuesday, I found myself trying to explain how Good Friday was "good"  to my preschool friends.

Jesus, completely innocent of any wrong, was brutally beaten and horrifically murdered in the most gruesome of manners. Yet, it was good so very good.

We teach these little people "good" and "bad" and "right" and "wrong" when show them how to take turns and redirect their behavior when they make a "poor" choice hitting a friend out of frustration. Yet, here I am telling them that Jesus died and it was good.

Thankfully, most of them have never experienced death. How do you explain someone dying to a ignorant little one? They have no frame of reference. The concept of killing this hero is something they cannot begin to wrap their minds around . . . especially when I quickly follow with the news of his resurrection.....

In their innocence, they play and imagine games that often include acting out scenes where someone "dies." The child closes their eyes, less than a minute passes. Their eyes pop open. They spring to their feet and carry on.

Is that what they think happened on Good Friday? I mean, how can death, any death, but especially the death of Jesus, be good? I struggled with how to explain the gravity of what happened countered with the inexplicable hope that Jesus' death births. Most preschoolers are not even aware of their personal sin yet.... How do I simply explain these truths to a child?

I found myself wrestling with this question over the next two days.

Then, last night, I read a blog from desiringgod.com. The author, David Mathis, highlighted many reasons that this singular day was the worst day of history. Never had man been so evil, so corrupt, so bad. He ended the post with simply stating that Good Friday was good, because God made it so. What man intended for the worst kind evil, God meant for the best good. Mathis points out that Joseph's words in the end of Genesis were fulfilled in the most ultimate way.

As I pondered the blog and the kids' unquestionable acceptance of Jesus' death and resurrection, I realized that it isn't about the children's inability to understand or their ignorance of life experience that enables them to see Good Friday as being "good." It is all about their childlike faith.

God said that this horrible Friday is good, so it is. God declares the events of the day good, so they are.

For them, at their ages, that is enough. God said so, so it is.

Yes, there are depths of understanding that I pray for these kids to one day understand. I actively pray that these basic seeds of faith that we are planting will be watered by the Holy Spirit and one day produce the harvest of their salvation.

The more life I experience and the more truth I understand deepens the meaning of this day. My worship is heightened and I choose to draw closer to my Savior on Good Friday.

Yet, I am a little jealous of my little friends' simple faith. No questioning - Did He really die?
Did He have to die? Could it really be true? If He didn't die this way and IF He did really rise, then have a based my whole life on a lie?

These children have no cynicism.

They may have stood by a casket gazing at the effects of death in the still, empty shell of a beloved grandparent. But they can easily live in the acceptance that they will one day see this dear one again, alive and more full of life than they have ever experienced, because of Good Friday.

Let's face it, this kind of faith is harder for us as adults. But this HOPE is why God declared this day "Good." I don't have to have it all figured out. I can choose to believe just because He said it. That is my focus this Easter season.

Lord, please give me a childlike faith this Easter week. Make my worship and acceptance of this wonderful truth just a pure as a child's perspective of Good Friday.